On the day the Tennessee Lady Vols would tip off their nation-leading 36th NCAA Tournament, The Players' Tribune published an article written by head coach Holly Warlick.
Warlick wrote "The Voice in my Head," a reflection on her relationship with the late Pat Summitt.
Warlick gives a personal account of her joining the Lady Vols as a player in the 1970's. She begins her story when Summitt recruited her in high school. Warlick sprained her ankle during the game, and Summitt left unimpressed. Warlick would walk on as a freshman and enjoy a successful career at UT.
When Summitt offered Warlick an assistant coaching job, Warlick wrote that she served as the buffer between Summitt and the players. The two formed a close friendship that lasted decades.
Warlick said the two talked about Holly assuming the head coaching role over time.
"The truth is … she was planning on being here forever," Warlick wrote. "I was planning on it, too."
That transition is still hard on Warlick today, she wrote in the article.
"Pat Summitt is a mountain," Warlick wrote. "We’re all standing in her shadow."
Warlick wrote she's still in the grieving process of handling the death of her best friend.
"People say grief is like the ocean — that it comes in waves," Warlick wrote. "But waves is too soft of a description. It feels more like lightning. Sometimes, I’ll be driving somewhere and suddenly be struck, crying on my way to the grocery. Grief splits you open. I swear you spend your whole life trying to sew yourself back up."
Warlick noted the constant reminders of Summitt's presence - the statue on campus, the empty seat on the bench in her honor, and much more.
"I’m confronted by her loss — personally and professionally — in so many visceral ways," Warlick wrote. "On some level, it’s comforting. I’m glad she’s still around. She’s the voice in my head."
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